The Mayas: Death, cosmos and millenary traditions

Maya lands are dressed up in colors and filled up with intense scents, flavors and sounds for the year’s most important celebration: Hanal Pixán.

In Mexico, the tribute to death has existed for hundreds, or even thousands of years. When the European conquerors arrived to America, they tried to destroy the customs and traditions that existed in the new world because they were considered pagan and evil. Even the wise Maya culture was the target of the ferocious attack of the invaders, however the Maya ancestors worked their way around it to keep their worldview, traditions, language, customs and beliefs. This way, their conception of death and life overcame time, and today this millenary tradition still shakes every single corner of the Yucatan peninsula.

Mayan culture

For them, time was understood as cycles where death wasn’t the end, but the beginning of a new life. The same way day follows night eternally, they believed that souls had to start a long journey across the underworld or Xibalbá, before reviving once again.

Hanal Pixán is a Mayan phrase that stands for “meal of the souls”, and people think it’s the chance for the souls of their loved ones to come back to Earth with their families, so they are received with excitement. The spirits of children arrive on October 31st, adults are expected on November 1st, and all the souls are worshiped on November 2nd.

Altars with colorful flowers are set, offering the passed away relatives’ favorite traditional candy, food and drinks. Candles, incense and copal are lit, building a bridge across two worlds in the middle of a magical atmosphere.

With no doubt, it’s worth exploring this beautiful tradition. It takes you far away back in time, deep in a unique mystic world of wisdom, exactly like of one of the world’s most important ancient cultures… Maya!

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